Braille Monitor                                                                                January 1986



Rick Smith Becomes Eagle Scout

by Kenneth Jernigan

As Federationists know, Frank Smith died of liver cancer September 25, 1985. At the time (early in September) that he learned he had only a few days left, he set about (calmly and with faith) the task of tidying up loose ends and finalizing his affairs. He called me to say goodbye and to tell me how much the Federation had meant in his life and the l:ves of his family. Until the end, he welcomed visitors and showed them by exajr:ple what he was and what he believed.

One of the things he wanted to do was to see his son Rick become an Eagle Scout. Although every effort was made to accelerate the ceremony, time ran out. Frank died two days before it happened. Pat Barrett, writing in the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Idaho, spoke the feelings of many:

New Eagle Rixon Smith
by Pat Barrett

The Eagle Scouting award requires special dedication and accomplishments. A young man must attain high standards investing time and talent in a variety of fields, such as leadership in groups, outdoor survival, and community service projects.

Rick Smith was awarded his Eagle Friday, September 27, 1985, following his father's funeral. His Eagle project was using pieces of chicken wire and properly inserting barbed markings around tree bases on Boise's greenbelt. This work prevents beavers from damaging the trees along the Boise River.

Rixon belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which supports the Boy Scout program. In spite of this, scout leaders had questions about how a totally blind youth could attain Eagle. Leaders were supportive; Rick and his family were determined; and he has earned Eagle completely. His ability and accomplishments match those of any other Eagle Scout. Rick has proved once again that it is not blindness that matters, but all the other characteristics and abilities that make up a person. Nice going, Rick. We are proud of you.

NFBI President, Norm Gardner, and former Idahoan, Bruce Gardner, have earned their Eagle awards in the past. Probably they were blind when they did it, but no one, including them, would have admitted it.